Overview

Most workers in Australia can choose which fund will receive their employer's super contributions, but how do they compare one fund with another? That is the purpose of our fund ratings. By applying our knowledge and experience of funds, we compare them in a way that is both fair and rigorous, and on an 'apples with apples' basis. 

The result is a set of ratings that encapsulate our view about the quality of each fund we rate. We express those ratings in terms of Apples. Funds earn a rating ranging from 5 Apples, our highest grade, to 1 Apple, our lowest. 

Rating

Definition

Chant_West_Gold_5_Apple_Small-(1).png

Highest quality fund

Chant_West_Silver_4_small-(1).png

High quality fund

Chant_West_Bronze_3_Small.png

Fair quality fund

Chant_West_Teal_2-(1).png

Low quality fund

Chant_West_Olive_1_Small-(1).png

Lowest quality fund


Our ratings are based on information that is either publicly available or is provided directly to us by the funds themselves. Where necessary, we modify that information to ensure fair comparisons. We give each fund the opportunity to review the information we use for its accuracy.

Main Criteria

In rating super funds, we apply a methodology that has been developed over more than 20 years. This focuses on five main criteria: investments, member services, fees, insurance and organisational strengths.

We determine a score for each of the main criteria and then weight these to provide an overall rating for the fund. Chart 1 shows the main criteria we use and the weights we assign to them.

Chart1-Super-Methodology-(2).PNG

 

Investments

Investments are obviously important and account for 40% of our overall rating. When we rate a fund's investments, we assess the quality of the fund's investment governance, its in-house investment team, how it works with its external asset consultant (particularly for research), and the structure of its investment portfolios. If it does these things well, it is likely to have strong, long-term performance.

Most funds offer a range of investment options to choose from, but we concentrate our research mostly on the multi-manager options because that is where most members are invested. Chart 2 shows what we take into account. It is worth noting that past performance only accounts for 15% of the total score for investments (which equates to 6% of our overall fund evaluation).

 

Chart2-Investments-Super-Methodology-(1).PNG

Member Services

While investments carry the highest weighting in our ratings process, we believe member services are also vitally important. For that reason, they account for 30% of our overall weighting.

The best funds offer services that help their members understand the purpose of super (which is to accumulate a nest egg that will provide a comfortable income in retirement), how they are tracking to achieve their retirement goals, and what they can do to ensure they meet those goals.

We focus on education (retirement calculator, public website and secure website), communication materials (member statement, campaigns and newsletters) and financial advice services (scaled and full advice). Chart 3 shows those sub-criteria and the weightings we assign to them.

 

Chart3-Member-Services-Super-Methodology-(1).PNG

Fees

The fees a member pays – either directly from their account or indirectly through their investments – have a bearing on how much money they have in retirement. That's not to say a low fee fund is necessarily the best. A fund may be cheap because its investments use a lot of passive management, or it may cut costs by providing little in the way of member services.

When we assess a fund on fees, we look not only at the fees and costs a member pays, directly or indirectly, but also on how clearly and completely the fund discloses those fees and costs, as shown in Chart 4.

 

Chart4-Fees-Super-Methodology-(1).PNG

Insurance

Insurance is an important benefit, but it's also a cost a member pays and should represent good value. The best funds provide cover that is affordable, flexible, relevant to the demographics of their membership, and requires the minimum of paperwork and medical evidence.

The main aspects we focus on are the premiums, the conditions that must be met for benefits to be paid, the amount of cover available without medical evidence and the range and relevance of the benefits provided. These are shown in Chart 5.

 

Chart5-Insurance-Super-Methodology.PNG

Organisation

Australian super funds are highly regulated and they are not geared, so the chance of failure is quite remote. Nevertheless, it is important to know that the organisation behind the fund has the strength and resources to continue to provide positive member outcomes.

When we assess a fund on organisation, we look at who owns or controls it, its governance, the strength of its management team and its strategy for the future, as shown in Chart 6.

 

Chart6-Organisation-Super-Methodology.PNG


 

Disclaimer: ©Zenith CW Pty Ltd ABN 20 639 121 403 (Chant West), Authorised Representative of Zenith Investment Partners Pty Ltd ABN 27 103 132 672, AFSL 226872 under AFS Representative Number 1280401, 2021. This website is only intended for use by Australian residents and is subject to use in accordance with Chant West’s Terms of Use and should be read with Chant West’s Financial Services Guide. Products, reports, ratings (Information) are based on data which may be sourced from a third party and may not contain all the information required to evaluate the nominated product providers, you are responsible for obtaining further information as required. To the extent that any Information provided is advice, it is General Advice (s766B Corporations Act). Chant West has not taken into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any specific person who may access or use the Information provided. It is not a specific recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any product(s) and is subject to change at any time without prior notice. Individuals should consider the appropriateness of any advice in light of their own objectives, financial situations or needs and should obtain a copy of and consider any relevant PDS or offer document before making any decision. Information is provided in good faith and is believed to be accurate, however, no representation, warranty or undertaking is provided in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the Information. Information provided is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced, modified or distributed without the consent of the copyright owner. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, Chant West does not accept any liability whether direct or indirect, arising from use of the Information. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Chant West ratings and research are prepared by Chant West and are not connected in any way to research and ratings prepared by any of our related entities.

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